Silver lining

Credit crunch, economic downturn, financial crisis: these are the buzzwords of 2009 so far.

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Credit crunch, economic downturn, financial crisis: these are the buzzwords of 2009 so far. No industry can escape the implications of the predicament the financial world finds itself in, least of all the construction related sectors.

While some MEP companies may not make it through the crunch, the majority will be buckling down and seeing it out. This has caused a much publicised slowdown in projects in the Middle East, something that is reported by some to signal an end to the boom in the region. However with such a slowdown, there comes a fantastic opportunity to ensure that projects are more efficient, better built and longer lasting.

Burt Hill principal David Sinz reported in the January issue of MEP Middle East: “I don’t want to say the slowdown is a good thing, but it is a chance for companies to re-evaluate their staff and look for efficiencies.” He added that the situation will present companies with an opportunity to stop, re-evaluate and then move forward.

Fagerhult general manager also revealed: “What we see happening now is that companies actually want to get things right the first time because now they have a little bit more time to do the design. So in a way, although the volume overall may be reduced, the opportunities for quality companies can increase.” While it is worrying that firms were not aiming to get things right the first time in the past, it is encouraging that this should improve in the future.

Energy efficient projects can now be thrust into the spotlight further as, apart from saving the environment, they also save money. This will be showcased at the World Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi this month, where hundreds of companies, exhibitors and key decision makers will discuss the potential of renewable technologies, amongst other things.

There is no doubt that the next few months will be tough for MEP firms, but when the financial situation improves and the dust is cleared, the sector and many of the best run companies in it could well find themselves in a much stronger position for the future.

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